SANDRINGHAM, England (AP) - Britain’s pragmatic Queen Elizabeth II has brokered a deal to secure the future of the monarchy, charting a course for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, that allows them to live part time in Canada while still remaining firmly tied to the House of Windsor.
The British monarch says in a statement that a summit of senior royals on Monday was “constructive.”
She said it had been “agreed that there will be a period of transition in which the Sussexes will spend time in Canada and the UK.”
She added, “My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
The queen says there are still issues to be resolved but she wants it done within days.
The summit at the queen’s Sandringham estate in eastern England marked the first face-to-face talks with Harry since he and Meghan unveiled the controversial plan to step back from their royal roles.
Princes William and Harry also issued a statement challenging the accuracy of a newspaper report describing a severe strain on the relationship between the two brothers.
The statement says that for brothers “who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful.”
Where will they get their money? Will they still have royal protection? Will Prince Harry and his wife Meghan still be known as “his royal highness” and “her royal highness”? Will Meghan be free to make big money endorsement deals?
Most families have squabbles, but this involves the longest reigning monarch in British history, her son and heir Prince Charles, princes William and Harry and his wife Meghan.
It may take weeks or longer to find a way for Harry and Meghan to step back from royal duties.
Meanwhile, supporters of the royal family’s feuding factions used the British media to paint conflicting pictures of who was to blame for the rift.
Meghan is in Canada, where the couple spent a six-week Christmas break out of the public eye.
Harry stayed in England as the royal family sought to contain the crisis sparked by the couple’s decision effectively to quit as senior royals.
A friend of the couple pushed back against accusations they blindsided the queen with the announcement that they would be stepping back from royal duties.
They have said they won’t use the taxpayer money that pays for 5% of their office expenses, but beyond that, it’s not clear how they plan to change their financial setup.
Both say they want to be free to work and to expand their involvement in numerous charities.
They may continue to use private funds from Harry’s father, Prince Charles, through his control of a large estate known as the Duchy of Cornwall.
Harry also inherited money from his late mother Princess Diana, and Meghan had a successful TV career.